Leo Santa Cruz wins big, keeps title

"I knew that Arakawa could take a punch going into the fight," Linares said. "I hurt my right hand in the fourth round. That's why I relied so heavily on my left hand. I want to fight for the title whenever [titleholder] Omar Figueroa says."

Linares, with his broad shoulders, looked much bigger than Arakawa and displayed fast hands when he threw combinations, many of which landed. But Arakawa has an excellent chin, took the shots well and landed his own shots, which began to swell Linares' left eye in the third round.

Japan's Arakawa fought a courageous interim lightweight title bout with Figueroa in July in San Antonio that earned him the nickname "The Japanese Rocky."

Although Arakawa lost a decision to Figueroa, the way he fought and the heart he showed earned him another opportunity on a big card against Linares, who is from Venezuela but lives in Japan.

Arakawa tried to rumble with Linares, a former junior lightweight and featherweight titleholder, and landed some hard punches, but not nearly enough to shake Linares. He also could not deal with Linares' hand speed.

Arakawa's right eye began to badly swell in the eighth round as he bulled forward but was taking shots from Linares on the way in, including a clean uppercut at the end of the eighth round. But he also opened a cut over Linares' right eye in the round. Arakawa's right eye began to bleed badly in the ninth round, and both of their faces were covered in blood as they traded in the 10th round.

• Lightweight Sergio "Yeyo" Thompson, who took the fight on a week's notice, dropped his Mexican countryman Ricardo Alvarez twice and won a 10-round unanimous decision in an action fight.

All three judges had it for Thompson, 97-91, 95-93 and 95-93.

Alvarez, the older brother of card headliner Canelo Alvarez, was originally supposed to challenge lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa, but Figueroa suffered a left hand injury last week and dropped off the card. The fight with Thompson, a longtime top junior lightweight contender who had moved up in weight, was made on short notice.

Thompson (29-3, 26 KOs) came out blasting with both hands, and Alvarez (23-3-3, 13 KOs) was in major trouble in the opening minute of the fight. Thompson hammered him with clean shots with both hands and had him seemingly out on his feet. But Alvarez survived and was able to connect with a couple of shots to keep Thompson off him.

Alvarez recovered well and seemed to do more damage in the second round. In the third round, Thompson sent Alvarez reeling into the ropes on the end of a hard left jab, prompting referee Vic Drakulich to rule a knockdown because the ropes held him up.

Thompson dropped Alvarez again in the eighth round, landing a clean straight right hand 30 seconds into the round.

Thompson has won 15 of his past 16 fights, with the only loss coming by decision in a junior lightweight world title challenge against Takashi Miura in August in Japan.

• Junior lightweight Jerry Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs) of Corpus Christi, Texas, spoiled the American debut of Will Tomlinson (21-1-1, 12 KOs) of Australia, easily outpointing him in Tomlinson's first fight since signing with Golden Boy Promotions.

Tomlinson recently signed a five-fight deal with Golden Boy, which thought it was getting a top 130-pound contender, but Tomlinson could not deal with the movement of Belmontes, who won on lopsided scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 98-92.

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